She Boxes. She Conducts. She Delights in Defying Stereotypes.

When Elim Chan arrived in New York last week to prepare for her New York Philharmonic debut, her first stop was not David Geffen Hall, the orchestra’s home, or a rehearsal studio. It wasn’t even in the city.

Instead, she visited Smith College, her alma mater in Massachusetts, to meet with young women interested in the arts. In a classroom, Chan, 37, candidly told them that she felt it was getting harder for women to succeed in conducting.

“Now the pressure is insane,” she recalled saying. “I was really lucky.”

It was only a decade ago that, Chan, a native of Hong Kong, blazed onto the scene as the first woman to win the esteemed Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in England. Since then, she has joined the global concert circuit and taken on jobs including chief conductor at the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in Belgium.

On Thursday, she will lead the Philharmonic in performances of Martinu’s First Cello Concerto, featuring the soloist Sol Gabetta; the world premiere of Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s “Pisachi”; and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” a piece that helped Chan clinch her victory in the final round of the Flick competition.

So far in her career, Chan has delighted in upending expectations about conducting and herself. She defied her relatives when they discouraged her from pursuing music because they were worried it would not pay the bills. She pushed back when colleagues challenged her credentials because she did not attend a conservatory and came to conducting relatively late — as a college sophomore — while dabbling in psychology and medicine. And she smiled to herself when orchestra players dismissed her as too short or fresh faced to be on the podium. She has also made a point of maintaining an active life outside music: She has become a devoted boxer, working with a coach between engagements.

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